Nov. 16 - During a visit to Germany, Irish PM Enda Kenny says the ECB should be the ''ultimate backstop'' to prevent euro zone contagion. Kirsty Basset reports.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny received a warm welcome in Germany, during his first official visit to the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Ireland's progress in reducing its budget deficit, since receiving a bailout from the EU and IMF a year ago. (SOUNDBITE)(German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "I think Ireland is a exceptional example of showing how in times of liquidity problems, such a programme can help you get back on your feet and become economically viable through one's own means." And the Irish PM said the country is on the verge of turning a significant corner. (SOUNDBITE)(English) IRISH PRIME MINISTER, ENDA KENNY, SAYING: "I've already signalled that Ireland hopes to make an initial return to the financial markets as soon as possible, hopefully by the end of next year and to end our bailout situation in 2013." But when it comes to how to solve the euro zone debt crisis, Germany and Ireland couldn't be further apart. Merkel restated her opposition to the European Central Bank playing a bigger role in containing the crisis, but Enda Kenny disagrees. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH PRIME MINISTER, ENDA KENNY, SAYING: "I've stated in our own parliament and it would be Ireland's view that the ECB is the ultimate backstop here. Clearly, there are very diverging views about this and I know that Germany in particular has its own view on it. But this is an issue that needs to be dealt with and it needs to be dealt with politically." The two leaders also discussed possible changes to the EU treaty to protect countries from further financial crisis. Merkel said Germany would be willing to give up some sovereignty to see stronger centralised institutions - but the Irish PM was not as enthusiastic, saying the changes would take too long and might not reduce the risks. Kirsty Basset, Reuters.